English Piano Trio
Jane Faulkner - violin
Pál Banda - cello
Timothy Ravenscroft - piano
Haydn, Beethoven & Dvorák
Keyboard Trio No 35 in C Hob XV/21
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Trio No 5 in D, 'Ghost' Op 70 No 1
Piano Trio No 4 in E minor, 'Dumky' Op 90
First formed in 1988, the English Piano Trio whose members each have distinguished careers, performed for us on Friday 11 October.
Perhaps the particularly unpleasant weather accounted for the rather poor attendance, but those who failed to come missed a first class concert by these brilliant artistes.
Starting with a Haydn "Keyboard Trio in C" whose initial Adagio soon erupts into a lively and joyous vivace, the sonata then follows with the usual slow movement and then a final Presto all played with masterly musicianship.
The well known "Ghost" trio by Beethoven, one of two written in 1808 and whose name is believed to derive from the perhaps eerie scoring of the slow movement ,is indeed a magnificent work with a most impressive beginning,and was played with intense and powerful feeling throughout with each player blending together with great sensitivity. The final Presto was performed with style and panache to complete this masterpiece of the genre.
Lastly the "Dumky Piano Trio" In E minor by Dvorak completed the programme. A work in six sections, the word Dumky originally implied something brooding and introspective.However, this work is more of a Fantasia and parts of it are very lively with some of the sections betraying their Bohemian folk dance origins.
Certainly,this unusual piece made a lively and stimulating end to a splendid recital by these highly gifted musicians who have undoubtedly helped to continue our reputation for musical excellence in Guildford.
The English Piano Trio now celebrates its 24th season. Formed by three distinguished artists, the Trio performs regularly at major London venues, and tours extensively abroad. The Trio specialises in repertoire of the classical period, and has presented complete Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven programmes at London’s South Bank, in both the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room. In September 2012 the Trio performed an all Shostakovich programme with readings of the Russian poetess Anna Akhmatova at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh.
The English Piano Trio has promoted contemporary music by commissioning, performing and recording new works by Berthold Goldschmidt, Malcolm Lipkin, David Matthews and Roger Steptoe. The Trio has also worked with young composers in a residency at King’s College, University of London. The Trio’s recording for Naxos of works by Sir Malcolm Arnold was part of a Gramophone Award winning series.
For their 20th anniversary recital, the Trio commissioned and performed works by David Matthews, Cecilia McDowall and Joseph Phibbs. These works are now firmly in their repertoire, and are performed at home and abroad.
The English Piano Trio also researches works by lesser known composers. Their research, and subsequent recording (Dutton Epoch label) and performance at the South Bank in 2005 of music by the English composer Francis Edward Bache (1833 –1858) gained them critical acclaim. In their exploration of all styles of composition, the Trio gave the UK premiere at the South Bank of Anne Dudley’s arrangement of the Bach Chaconne for piano trio. In 2011, at the invitation of the Rinck Society in Germany, the Trio performed piano trios by Rinck (1770 – 1846) in Germany. These delightful works are unknown in the UK, but are now in the group’s repertoire, and are a welcome addition generally to the piano trio ensemble.
An important part of the English Piano Trio’s commitments is their extensive concert tours in Europe. They are regular visitors to Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain, participating in Festivals in Barcelona, Mainz, Loosdorf, Wiesbaden and Bologna.
The Trio is constantly producing new ideas on programming, either as a trio, or with actors and narrators in their ‘Words and Music’ evenings, in which composers, writers, or historic events are portrayed with music and readings. These have proved to be extremely popular with Festivals. Their latest script, ‘On the Danube’, in collaboration with celebrated actor Timothy West CBE, is an entertaining musical diary along Europe’s second longest river. The Trio also works with other performers to augment the ensemble – ‘English Piano Trio and Friends’. These programmes include Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet, Mozart and Schumann Piano Quartets, Elgar and Shostakovich Piano Quintets.